Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Uganda tackles electricity crisis

February 15 2011 - Reuters

Kampala - Ugandan firm Taylor Biomass Energy Uganda (TBEU) plans to invest $160-million to build a power plant that will burn rubbish and generate 40 megawatts, the firm said on Monday.

It would be the first major renewable energy project in East Africa's third-largest economy which is plagued by frequent power outages due to supply constraints and a run-down transmission network.

Despite years of relative political stability and sustained economic growth, energy shortages have stunted the expansion of Uganda's manufacturing sector. Over the past five years, the government has been seeking investors to help fill the power deficit.

TBEU will implement the project in partnership with Taylor Biomass Energy LLC of the United States, the Ugandan firm's part owner.

“The companies will invest over $160-million to construct a plant that will recycle almost 1 030 tons daily of municipal solid waste from Kampala and the surrounding Wakiso district to generate renewable clean energy for over 35 000 homes,” TBEU said in a statement.

TBEU said financial closure and construction would take two years and that when up and running the plant would employ about 400 workers.

“The project will.. save the environment about three million tons of greenhouse gaseous emissions annually. An additional 1 100 indirect jobs will also be created,” the statement said.

Taylor Biomass Energy LLC, which will provide all technical back-up to the project, is constructing a similar plant in Montgomery, New York.

Uganda's largest hydropower plant, Bujagali hydropower dam, with a maximum generation capacity of 250 MW, is due to come online in phases starting later this year.